What's Up Wednesday #32 - Adding vs Subtracting, Backups & why you need them

What’s Up Wednesday #32 - Adding vs Subtracting, Backups & why you need them

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Adding vs substracting

This nature paper studied problem-solving and found that additive solutions are favored over subtractive ones, even when removing features is more efficient.

„When people imagine how a situation could have turned out differently, they are more likely to do so by undoing an action they’ve taken rather than by adding an action they failed to take Blaming has lower activation energy than changing, which is our critical flaw.“

„It seems people are prone to apply a ‚what can we add here?‘ heuristic.“

„Subtraction is less likely to be appreciated. People might expect to receive less credit for subtractive solutions than for additive ones. A proposal to get rid of something might feel less creative than would coming up with something new to add, and it could also have negative social or political consequences.“

So, the next time you want to add something, think first if you rather should not remove it or stop doing something else instead.

  • Be richer? Stop spending so much instead of working more.
  • Be greener? Minimize driving instead of buying the new electric car.
  • Be healthier? Stop eating junk instead of trying to start to work out.
  • Be more social? Stop going to random parties and have more time for your friends.


🔐 I have a lot of data (>24 TB) that I want to hold on to. Most of it are my images, which are of a high emotional value. Some of it is just documents that need to be kept. I learned the hard way that your important data needs to be backed up always. This is especially true with newer computers where the data storage is often integrated and can not be read or replaced on dead machines (e.g. a logic board failure on newer MacBooks makes your data inaccessible).

👨🏼‍💻Here are some things you should do to save you a lot of pain and time in case of a hardware failure of your laptop, a devastating fire at your house, or theft.

Documents that you need to have on your computer:

  • Keep documents, stuff you work on, and everything that you can not download anywhere else synced to a cloud storage service (Dropbox, iCloud, ….)
  • Keep encrypted monthly backups of your entire system & settings on a separate hard drive exclusively holding your backups (on Mac just use the built-in TimeMachine)

Data you just want to keep:

  • Convert it to a digital format (old videotapes and cassettes will not become better if they lie around for years)
  • Backup it on at least two different physical media (two hard drives) in two different locations (to be safe against local catastrophes e.g. flooding, theft, fire).
  • Additional save it in the cloud (Amazon Drive stores unlimited photos if you have Amazon Prime, I have already uploaded 20TB there…)

💀 And even with all of that your storage mediums still die. Eventually. So, make sure your backups work and check your hard drives once a year (happened to me with a 1y old drive).

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